Do chemicals make people fat? Slimmer Kirstie Alley weighs in

Before caption: LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Actress Kirstie Allely arrives to the opening of Kirstie Alley's Organic Liaison Store on March 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) After caption: NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Actress Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of 'Bad Teacher' at the Ziegfeld Theatre on June 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images) Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images &Jason Kempin/Getty Images

kirstie alley
Before caption: LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Actress Kirstie Allely arrives to the opening of Kirstie Alley's Organic Liaison Store on March 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images &Jason Kempin/Getty Images

(CBS) Ninety pounds. That's how much weight a slimmed-down Kirstie Alley says she's lost recently.

"I lost 60 pounds before I started "Dancing with the Stars," and I lost 30 pounds during it," the formerly flabby actress said in an appearance on the ABC show The View. "I'm happy with it."

Alley said all the dancing helped give her body a new "configuration," but she also made a pitch for her own weight-loss company, Organic Liaison.

What caused her to get fat in the first place? She said overeating deserved part of the blame, explaining, "I've eating like a truck driver my entire life." But she also blamed pesticides, fungicides, and other toxic chemicals in the environment - which she called "all the icides."

Do environmental chemicals really cause weight gain? In fact, scientists say they just might.

"I think there is a possibility that they may alter your likelihood of becoming obese," Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, told CBS News. "There is a growing body of animal evidence that exposure to a number of different pesticides in utero and childhood is associated with obesity.

In addition, human research has linked pesticide exposure to type 2 diabetes, a disease that often goes hand in hand with obesity.

Some worrisome pesticides, including DDT and chlordane, have been banned. But even banned pesticides remain in the environment for many, many years, she said. That makes it hard to avoid them - although, she said, eating organic produce can be helpful.

The Pesticide Action Network has more on pesticides and health.

  • David W Freeman

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